Sunday, January 23, 2011

Eating In / Chili

I've been in the mood for chili lately. Last night was my first real attempt at cooking a deep chili sans crock pot. I merged two Bobby Flay recipes (beef and black bean and red beef chili) and came up with the following:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes [I trimmed all the fat]
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped [I increased the garlic]
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder [rather than pasilla chili powder, which I couldn't find]
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 bottle dark beer [I used a Newcastle]
  • 5 cups homemade chicken stock, or canned low-sodium or water [I use the Kitchen Basics boxed stock, it has far less sodium]
  • 1 (16-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained and pureed [I didn't puree the tomatoes, instead I used an immersion blender]
  • 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon honey [I used agave nectar]
  • 2 cups cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained [I used one black beans and one kidney beans]
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Goodness sauce [from Intensity Academy in Tampa--this stuff is made from over 100 pounds of garlic and an obscene amount of habanero peppers; its great, but dangerous. I used this rather than the 1/2 poblano pepper and jalapeno I had diced up. Last minute decision.]

The steps to cook this one up are pretty simple. I prepped everything ahead of time, so it was simply a wait, dump, and stir cooking. Since I combined two different recipes, I'll put my steps below (but there's no real difference between the Flay recipes and what I outline here):

  1. I trimmed all fat off my beef, more for health reasons than for flavor. Decisions must be made.
  2. Heat a deep pan to high with the olive oil. Throw in your meat. give it time to brown on one side before stirring.
  3. Remove the meat. Put the onions in the pan and give them 3 or 4 minutes. Add your garlic and cook for another two minutes (if you want to add fresh jalapeno, serrano, poblano, or habaneros pepper, now would be the time). Add all your dry spices. Keep stirring at this point so the "chili paste" doesn't burn into the bottom of the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the beer and crank the heat to high. Let the beer reduce down until you have an almost pudding like consistency (this took about 8 minutes for me).
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Add the chicken stock, meat, tomatoes, chocolate, honey/agave nectar. Cover the pot at this point and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  6. Add beans. Cover again. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and squeeze in the lime juice.
  8. I let mine sit in the pot for 3 hours before I transferred it to the fridge.

Just about every good chili recipe I looked over advised waiting 24 hours before eating, so chili is on our menu for tonight. I wanted to whip up the crema fraiche, but couldn't find non-pasturized heavy cream at our grocery store. There's a mexican grocery near our house; if I'm motivated, I might see if they sell mexican crema today.

Pictures coming.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Eating In / Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

We've been eating quite well lately--but all that cooking hasn't left much time for blogging. I'll try to catch up this week. First up, Meg's super "breakfast-for-dinner" lemon ricotta pancakes (recipe courtesy Annie's Eats).. There were very few culinary highlights in West Lafayette, IN; one of them was Baja Peninsula. Though there menu was small, it featured lemon ricotta pancakes--one of the few items that could get me out of bed early on a weekend. Meg's been craving them for awhile, so she gave them a shot:

I think Meg's recipe yields better pancakes than the ones we got at Baja. I am particularly picky when it comes to pancakes. My irish nana wasn't much of a cook, but she would cook pancakes from scratch in bacon grease in an old cast-iron skillet. They were incredible. Meg's been working on her pancakes for years--and I think nana might have met her match (although I am still waiting for Meg to embrace bacon grease...).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eating In / Not-So-Vegan Enchiladas

My friend Anna keeps a vegetarian blog; I grabbed a vegan recipe for butternut squash enchiladas from her site. Unfortunately, my avocado didn't make it to today, so I grated cheddar cheese for the top. I forgot about the parsley, so there's no pretty green garnish. I also modified Anna's recipe a bit, adding cayenne pepper instead of red pepper flakes and adding a red bell pepper to the onion mixture. It was a great meal--took about an hour to make beginning to end. According to my calorie counter, it came out to 500 calories with the cheese.

Rowan didn't eat all of the enchiladas, but did eat quite a bit of the roasted squash.

Eating In / French Toast

Continuing to build my application for dad of the year, I made Rowan french toast this morning. I worked from a Simply Recipes version, although I added a bit of Madagascar vanilla paste instead of orange zest and Triple Sec.

Eating In / Meg's Spring Roll

Last night Meg used many of the vegetables from our CSA to make spring rolls. They were quite good along with some Iron Chef Sesame Ginger sauce.

She included some chicken in the stuffing--although these could have been vegetarian.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eating In / Fried Dough

I had some extra dough from last night's pizza, so Rowan and I enjoyed a nice dessert after our left-overs tonight.

Shockingly, Rowan wasn't hungry. That's probably the only reason there was a few pieces left for mom when she got home.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Eating In / Pizza

Pictured below, my first culinary victory of 2011. Left over homemade hot italian sausage (well, homemade by Apollo Meats, our favorite local meat market) combined with seriously caramelized onions with hand-grated cheddar cheese. Grilled (to grill pizza, I place the dough on the grill, close it for 1:45 seconds over medium heat, flip it, apply the toppings, reduce the heat to low, and grill for another 2 minutes).

Victory is mine.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eating Out / 717 South

Meg and I have talked for awhile about writing a food blog. Its mostly because I have the world's worst memory and can never remember if I liked a place or not. Here's our first post.

Tonight we went out to 717 South in Tampa--an italian/asian fusion restaurant. Meg ordered the crab cake for dinner with jalapeno sweet potatoes; I had the miso and sake tilapia with wasabi mashed potatoes. We both had the house salad (the highlight of the night for me). My fish wasn't bad, but wasn't memorable. Meg's crab cake was quite good, and the jalapeno sweet potatoes were great. For desert, Meg had an excellent creme brulee, I had an uninspired key lime pie. Good news--I only ate about half the pie, and they took it off the bill without us asking. That was appreciated. With one glass of wine each, the bill came to a reasonable 70 dollars before tip (that's with the two deserts).

All in all a nice meal, though I'm not in a big rush to go back.